List: The 13 Best R&B Albums of 2013

The-13-Best-R&B-Albums-of-2013

From Love and War to Kisses Down Low it’s been a surprisingly great year for R&B music.  With two of the biggest releases of the year being surprises, and plenty of long overdue projects finally hitting store selves, it seems like unexpected was the trend of the year. Pundits can still argue all they want about the state of R&B in today’s music industry, the numbers don’t lie, it’s still suffering commercially, but musically – quality, substance and entertainment wise – R&B has contributed greatly to the music landscape in 2013, and continues to thrive in the live arena.

Most of the years top urban radio singles were R&B records, or heavily R&B influenced, and a handful of R&B albums topped the Billboard 200 chart this year. Knowing that it’s not going to be an easy task to pick the best albums of the year was a clear sign that the genre is the strongest it’s been in many years. From tremendous blue-eyed soul to classic rhythm & blues, from global superstars opening up like never before, to award winning second chances, from pure baby-making bangers to celebratory anthems, we had it all and more in 2013!

So, without further ado, check out ‘The 13 Best R&B Albums of 2013‘ below!!

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Robin Thicke Blurred Lines album cover

13. Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines

Robin Thicke had a career year in 2013. Reaching the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with his massive hit single “Blurred Lines,” and topping the chart for 12 consecutive weeks, the song greatly succeeded the album of the same name. However, Thicke’s sixth studio effort was one of the years most underrated and under-appreciated. Crafted primarily by the soul singer and his production partner ProJay, the set also boasted work from a few major players such as Timbaland, Dr. Luke and of course Pharrell. The album was a step in a more playful and up-tempo direction for Robin, who didn’t quite venture into the house craze but blended his own soulful style with disco and funk inspiration. He didn’t completely abandon his traditional crooner style though, as we still received a couple ballads about love and life as well, specifically the sweet dedication to his wife on “4 The Rest of My Life.” - J.W.

Standout Cuts: “Ooh La La,” “Ain’t No Hat 4 That,” “Feel Good,” “Blurred Lines.”

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Raheem Devaughn A Place Called Loveland

12. Raheem DeVaughn – A Place Called Love Land

The self-proclaimed Love King came and conquered in 2013. Taking his career into his own control with the release of his first independent album, Raheem DeVaughn, took listeners on a journey with A Place Called Love Land. The fourth studio LP from the D.C. based crooner easily lived up to its name and his nickname, as it plays straight through with stellar love songs and bedroom soundtracks. Led by the single “Love Connection,” the set didn’t put up major numbers on the charts, but it is the exemplification of an underground favorite. Raheem is a master of his craft, and independent or not, he can clearly create a praise worthy body of work. – J.W.

Standout Cuts: “Love Connection,” “Ridiculous,” “Pink Crush Velvet,” “Make A Baby.”

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tamar-love-and-war-cover

11. Tamar Braxton – Love and War

Known as the most outspoken member of the Braxton clan, Tamar Braxton wasted no time using her reality TV fame to pick back up on her singing career. Following national acclaim and commercial success with her extraordinary ballad “Love and War,” the songstress released her sophomore album Love and War in early September. Serving as a leading contender for R&B’s most promising albums, and snatching up three Grammy nominations, for both the album and lead single, the witty girl with the big voice has brought back R&B in her own way. While the album is coming in just north of the top 10, we are still giving Tamar a standing ovation. – N.P.

Standout Cuts: “Love and War,” “The One,” “All The Way Home,” “Pieces.”

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Kelly Rowland TAGG-Cover

10. Kelly Rowland – Talk A Good Game

Kelly Rowland commanded 2013, from stunning red carpet appearances, to our TV screens as a judge on The X Factor, and on the airwaves with multiple buzz-worthy singles. The R&B vixen has been on a mission to create her own classic album, and while she hasn’t quite gotten there, Kelly landed the closest yet with Talk a Good Game. The fourth studio album from the Destiny’s Child diva has been her most personal to date, with the introspective single “Dirty Laundry,” and also her most sensual. Kelly touched on all bases with this project, from sing-along ride-out anthems, to steamy sex jams and love songs, to breakup ballads. The album is her most consistent body of work, and an exciting progression in her solo career. - J.W.

Standout Cuts: “Down On Love,” “Dirty Laundry,” “You Changed,” “This is Love.”

 

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KMICHELLE_COVER_FINAL

09. K. Michelle – Rebellious Soul

It has been a long time coming for songstress K. Michelle, but with her debut album reaching No. 1 in the country on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart, proved that it has been worth the wait. For those that followed K. Michelle’s story know that everything wasn’t a golden paved road, but talent will take you places far beyond your expectations, and she showed that with this album. Rebellious Soul was lead by the hit single “V.S.O.P.” which reached the top 5 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The outspoken songstress also headlined her very first tour with this album and sold out all but two shows. The year was phenomenal for her, and with “Can’t Raise A Man” getting ready to be put in drive, 2014 will be great for the rising R&B star as well. – M.G.

Standout Cuts: “V.S.O.P.,” “Can’t Raise A Man,” “Sometimes,” “Hate On Her.”

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Robert-Glasper-Experiment-Black-Radio-2

08. Robert Glasper Experiment – Black Radio 2

This album is everything in a bag of chips! The musicality and greatness that Robert Glasper brought out of many of R&B’s favorites such as Brandy, Faith Evans, Jazmine Sullivan, Jill Scott Anthony Hamilton, etc., was simply outstanding. Each song on this album has it’s own identity and it flows like the waves of an ocean. Anyone with an ear can tell that Robert Glasper knew the artists that he was working with, and he made it evident to create chemistry with each of them to produce memorable music. Even though Glasper’s Grammy win last year may have caught many by surprise, he proved to any naysayers that he is more than deserving of top honors and certainly gained new fans after they pressed play on this body of work. – M.G.

Standout Cuts: “What Are We Doing” feat. Brandy, “Calls” feat. Jill Scott, “Somebody Else” feat. Emeli Sande, “Trust” featuring Marsha Ambrosius

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JOECOLORCOVERFINAL_comp

07. Joe – DoubleBack: Evolution of R&B

When thinking of Joe and his music the first word that comes to mind has to be consistency. Doubleback: Evolution of R&B breathes pure R&B from the lead single “I’d Rather Have A Love,” which shows his effortless vocal acrobatics and conviction on every note, throughout the entire project. It’s unfortunate that the album fell under the radar commercially, but hopefully Joe continues to make great music for many more years. Being a veteran that R&B lovers will always love and enjoy, Joe is one of the few male vocalist around that doesn’t have to use technology to assist his voice in hitting every note. – M.G.

Standout Cuts: “Easy,” “Love & Sex” featuring Fantasia, “Compromise,” “I’d Rather Have A Love.”

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Around The Web

  • SoPrissyChrissy

    callmedollar Happy New Year Dollar!! Be Good! Xoxo

  • LisaJackson2

    I don’t agree with this list Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé shouldn’t be on a list of great R&B albums, let alone be at the top spot. They should be on the Honorable Mentions list. It’s because of hype like this that I don’t buy R&B music anymore.

  • callmedollar

    SoPrissyChrissy Thanks! Same to you.

  • Addicted

    More great releases? Sure –  Teena Marie, Avant, Bilal, Brian McKnight, Urban Mystic, The-Dream, Omar and my personal fav – Jose James.

  • missphenom

    LisaJackson2 I agree. The fact that Beyoncé labeled her release as Pop not R & B on iTunes should have disqualified her. I think that Chrisette’s Better should’ve made the list.

  • DonaldTai

    missphenom LisaJackson2  Well, what is Pop? Even thought MJ’s Thriller is considered the greatest Pop album known to man, but it’s sound would be identified as R&B/Soul (unless you believe otherwise). Can you honestly say that upon listening to every song on ‘The 20/20 Experience, Part 1′ or ‘Beyonce’ that none of the song are R&B/Soul?

    I remember Bryan-Micheal Cox saying in an interview that Pop music isn’t necessarily a genre of music, but a genre that is popular at the moment. Notice all the top top Pop albums over the years and see if you can’t seperate them accordingly/ They all don’t sound the same, or don’t have an identifying sound.

    sidenote: Frank Ocean tried to list “Channel Orange” under Bluegrass (but we all know that it’s not bluegrass)

  • missphenom

    DonaldTai missphenom LisaJackson2 Thanks for the pop definition and philosophy but I stand by comment. Compare Beyoncé to Chrisette or Jasmine Sullivan and Beyoncé is pop not R & B. Yes, I can honestly say this which is why I post my response. Finally, I don’t understand why you mention Justin Timberlake or Frank Ocean. Thank you.

  • boulfousislamgm
  • Brit

    ? Where’s The Weeknd? Amel Larrieux?….I could name a lot more that deserve to be on this list. Robin and Justin don’t belong, albums really weren’t great to me at all. Raheem’s album was a snorefest….Love Kelly but her’s was as well…

  • richyrich

    Where’s Jhene Aiko’s ep on this list?

  • ThisIsRnB

    On the Mixtapes/EP’s list…

  • http://WYWCM.COM/ Riki P

    Can’t believe PARTYNEXTDOOR is not on this list.

  • SarahWeir1

    Jhene Aiko and August Alsina should definitely be somewhere on this list.

  • ThisIsRnB
  • LaBellePearl_

    ThisIsRnB Yessss kmichelle & Beyonce My Favorite Albums Of 2013

  • RobertoWinzer1

    ThisIsRnB kmichelle good tracks great musicianship!!!

  • gemyny1985

    Umm BRANDY’S #TWOELEVEN is better than most of the 13 album’s and better than the Honorable Mentions! This is B.S.

  • un_spokengenius

    ThisIsRnB johnlegend It is the BEST album of the year.

  • sb2nd

    ThisIsRnB johnlegend looks like I have to buy a few more albums.

  • QueenSharice

    ThisIsRnB KELLYROWLAND definitely agree!

  • renegade37918

    ThisIsRnB johnlegend love that cd

  • larelancede

    ThisIsRnB johnlegend I agree, wholeheartedly ~ that album right there! #classic

  • NinasCherry

    ThisIsRnB johnlegend out of all of them Love in the Future and Beyoncé are the best. Everyone loves John Legend.

  • jjr517

    ThisIsRnB johnlegend Love this CD

  • grillmaster33

    ThisIsRnB johnlegend Love in the Future is #1 by far. #Dreams and #Holdonlonger

  • Rantz_Davis

    I_amDkool
    #NewMusic #NewVideo #WhatIf
    Rantz Davis “What If”
    http://t.co/3ANKZCi1Ay

  • Tweetacholic

    ThisIsRnB kmichelle YASSSSS TURN UP

  • UniqueBlackman1

    callmedollar ThisIsRnB can we get a breakdown of staff voting. As you say “I have questions.” No. 1 on that list is a travesty. IMO

  • ThisIsRnB

    UniqueBlackman1 we encourage you to leave your thoughts / opinions in the comments section, to open discussion amongst other fans

  • Jun

    Can’t believe Drake – Nothing Was The Same isn’t in the list while there is some strange choice in the ranking. The authors were definitely not objective in their choices.

  • KyleLondonWorrell

    @Jun Never in your life say Drake is R&B. Looool

  • Mama V

    Pls let’s be FOR REAL this list of 2013 albums is not CORRECT due to Bey came out dec 13 on Taylor Swift B-day and everyone else have 11months on Bey that why Real People buy Real Music and votes like this only by Name and not Music. Be Real keep it Real you left off Better Artist than Bey, Justin T and few others I agree with others No1 No2 should have been honor mention if that’s the reason then Lorde came out b4 Bey so what’s Real! My Comment!!

  • Mama V

    Do you mean best alum of 2013 and not R&B because I’m R&B and Bey list as PoP NOT R&B when did it her album became R&B and the songs tracks Hip Pop and your voting staff got it all wrong but I guess you go by Name and Queen of R&B is Mary J in this era so again let’s be Real and Name Real R&B Albums. Need to have a Recount!!! Gotta go and listen to Real R&B………

  • jaeske

    Chrisette Michele had the best album in all categories’ last year!!!!!!

  • OsaGz

    Bey number one? No. You have the responsibility of being objective. Please use it.

  • Ang Violet

    I don’t know how beyonce made this list at all. It seems like no matter what she does people are going to call it great. I like beyonce but she has dwindled down to me over the years. Bday was her best album to me, so this current “thing” should not be number 1 at least. And The Weeknd’s Kiss Land not making the list is puzzling to me. Oh and I absolutely love Drake but its a lil confusing to put him in r&b even though he sings.

  • Ang Violet

    SarahWeir1  Jhene’s is an EP and I believe August’s is a mixtape so they are not albums. different list. but I agree Jhene’s EP is wayyy better than most of these albums up here

  • Ang Violet

    DonaldTai missphenom i think both of you are right. even certain rap songs can be categorized as pop because it gets a lot of radio play, high on the billboard charts, etc. but some artists are truly, no mistaking r&b artists while others fit into multiple categories.

  • http://twitter.com/mscott MichaelScott

    Where is Ciara????? Her new album is amazing!

  • Sayruh

    How is Beyonce number one? That trash is definitely not better than Janelle Monae, Fantasia, Chrisette Michele, OR John Legend. Writer, do better.

  • Skye T

    Why y’all mad?? Queen B will always be #1 & no one can top her so, get over it!

  • Shoaib Aziz

    where the weeknd at